November 25, 2003

You'd pay attention to me too if I had feet sticking out of my face

A couple of days ago there was a bloodbath in my lab. I was calmly sitting at my desk designing primers when I heard a great deal of profanity coming from the other end of the lab. When I went over to see what had happened, I saw Nate (a grad student) clutching his horribly lacerated thumb. Apparently Michelle (another grad student) had been using Nate's scissors to cut some very sticky tape, leaving said scissors gummed up and un-usable. Nate had been trying to clean them and had cut himself in the process. Michelle, of course, felt pretty bad about gumming up Nate's scissors and making him cut himself, so she quickly offered to clean them for him. Seconds later, Michelle was cursing like a sailor and clutching her finger which was also horribly lacerated. At this point, I went into smarty-pants mode and decided to use the power of chemistry to clean the scissors. I would prove to my unfortunate lab mates that the scissors could come clean without injuring anybody. I took the scissors from Michelle (who was trying to fend off our post-doc from China, who was insisting that Michelle should douse the wound in ethanol before she put a band-aid on it) and found a bottle of acetone. I then poured some acetone on a paper towel, which I thought would cut through the glue like nobody's business. However, when I went to pick up the towel, it felt like a bee had stung my thumb, and I swore a blue streak. At first, I thought I had accidentally poured something a little more caustic than acetone on the towel (like TFA), but when I examined my stinging thumb, I discovered that I had somehow cut myself in the process of taking the scissors from Michelle and placing them on a bench. I became convinced that the scissors had some kind of magical powers and refused to have anything else to do with them. At this point, our PI walked into the lab (perhaps because he could hear all the profanity from his office) and proceeded to make fun of us all.

The next day when I came in to lab, I saw a note on the white board (in the PI's handwriting) that said "There have been (1) day(s) without an accident involving scissors"


Posted by doug at November 25, 2003 04:19 PM

Where are the scissors now? Inquiring minds want to know. Is the bloodbath continuing? Will they ever be successfully cleaned?

Will you all get unsatisfactory marks in Using Materials Wisely, and be sent home with notes from the teacher pinned to your shirts?

Posted by: dianna at November 25, 2003 04:42 PM

Thankfully, neither you nor your lab partners attempted to run with those scissors, or the carnage would have been unspeakable.

Posted by: sean at November 25, 2003 07:23 PM

Do you normally spray TFA about the lab? Cause I hear that stuff does wonders for head congestion.

Posted by: Jacob at November 25, 2003 09:27 PM